Michigan District Optimists raise money for Karmanos patients during pandemic

For eight years, Karmanos Cancer Institute has been the recipient of toys, gift-wrap and holiday cheer for its patients collected by the Michigan District Optimists, allowing hospitalized patients to select toys, games and books for their loved ones right from their hospital beds.

With the coronavirus pandemic, the Optimists knew gift distribution to those with compromised immune systems was not going to be possible but wanted to help Karmanos patients during a time when many are facing economic uncertainty.

A decision was made and Healthy Kids Optimist Club, Loving Community Optimist Club, Metro Riverfront Optimist Club and Emery's Creative Jewelers of Farmington Hills, Mich., their long-time toy drive partner, raised $1,200 through member contributions to the Karmanos Patient Assistance Fund.

"We were worried that the Optimists would be disappointed that the Institute wouldn't be able to accept toys this year but were thrilled when they had already made the pivot to a donation," said Chelsea Pulice, third party coordinator at Karmanos. "We are so thankful for their kindness, positive spirit and thoughtfulness towards others."

The optimist clubs are affiliates of Optimist International, the fourth largest service organization, whose mission statement reads, "By providing hope and a positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in youth, our communities and ourselves."

Metro Riverfront Optimist Club celebrated its 25th Anniversary on October 1, 2020.